Scoring return traffic for your website: 4 dos and don’ts
Most online marketers spend the bulk of their time trying to get traffic to their site. That’s the whole idea behind search engine optimization (SEO), right? It’s engineering your website so that it lands at the top of the search engines and brings in more visitors.
But, much like the ongoing debate in marketing schools about customer acquisition vs. retention, a more advanced affiliate marketer should approach website visitors with this question in mind: How can I get people to not only visit my site and convert, but also return to my site and potentially convert again?
This is a central question for anyone who owns or manages a website, no matter what niche or industry he or she works in.
We’ll start with four positive elements of inspiring repeat traffic. These are the most effective methods of making sure that, once your site is found, it’ll become a return destination for your site visitors.
1. Daily Content. This is absolutely essential if you want the kind of website that people check out every day. Ask yourself: Why do I visit the sites I do every day? Because you know that, each day, there’ll be something new, and something entertaining.
If you’re at the level as a website owner or manager that you’re focusing on making sure your visitors and conversions come back as repeat customers, then you need to have daily content in place — or as close to it as you can achieve. For more info on creating this kind of desirable content, or outsourcing it, visit the Casino Affiliate Programs blog archives.
2. Newsletters and emails. Email communication, which usually falls under the heading of newsletters, is a great way to inspire repeat traffic. That’s the best purpose of a newsletter, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or just for big events. We’ve gone over the finer points of email marketing here at the CAP Blog, so you have the basic tools you need to build email lists and send communications to those prospects.
Newsletters can be a lot of work — as can be managing your email lists — but the payoffs can be huge. And when you have a newsletter, you can market that as a separate content channel, all in an effort to drive more people to your site. Check out ezinesearch.com for a great example of a way to do just that.
3. Promote bookmarking. Maybe the easiest step is to simply ask your visitors to bookmark your site. If your site is great, they’ll probably do it anyway, but it’s much more sensible to remind them — in the newsletters you send, on your home page itself.
4. Promote your site as a home page. Clearly, this option isn’t going to work unless you’ve got a thoroughly kick-ass site. We’re talking the best of the authority features, here: A site that offers daily content, unique views, and breaking news to the level that people will actually want to visit it every day.
That’s the ultimate achievement, of course, so it isn’t likely to help a beginner in a practical sense. But in a strategic sense, if you start your site with this attitude in mind, you’ll likely find that you have a much clearer idea of what your site should be, which is a great way to ensure a better quality site in general, both now and in the future.
When you’ve accomplished that, you’re going to find that all other options for inspiring return visitors – through forums, networking, Facebook and Twitter — become even more effective.
The don’ts: A quick guide of what not to do to inspire repeat visitors.
There are a pretty easily identified group of factors that will not only prevent visitors from ever coming back to your site, but are equally likely to drive them away fast the first time. These are:
1. Too many emails. There’s a very fine line between communicating with prospects … and over-communicating. All it takes is a quick conversation with the average web surfer to realize just how hated SPAM is. If they think you’re sending SPAM, it’s good-bye forever.
2. Flash on your home page. Hopefully, your home page has long since evolved past the infuriating trend of home pages or splash pages showing a Flash movie instead of getting right to the site content. They’re annoying, timely to load, and frequently un-clickable. People generally hate ‘em. Unless you’re a professional designer showing off your skills, there’s not much reason to have any Flash on your site.
3. Automatic music played on your home page (or any other page, really, where there isn’t a warning on the link). This one’s on par with Flash for annoyance factor. When the first reaction of most visitors to your site is to shut it off as quickly as they can, your revisit stats are going to be in the toilet, too. And playing music on your home page is one of the fastest ways to make that happen.
4. Broken links. Old outbound links that don’t work are a huge turn-off for most visitors. They’re the surest sign of a lazy webmaster and lazy content.
Any list on a topic this big and nuanced is going to be necessarily basic. Have you stumbled across any other methods of increasing your return traffic? Is that a stat you even stay on top of? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.